Do you remember when you were a kid (or older) and found yourself in a habit that you knew was wrong. No one who could make you pay a consequence knew that you were involved in it (smoking in the boys room). You probably could have kept going along through life and might never have gotten caught. However, something changed.
Maybe it was the fact that you knew the day would come when you would get caught. Maybe you simply felt guilty about “doing wrong.” Maybe, like some of us, you were changed through a an understanding of God’s love for us and how that what you were doing flew in the face of all that he had done for you.
Whatever the cause, you determined to stop. Not only did you stop, but you encouraged others to stop as well. Some may have listened and others not. However, you changed.
I’ve thought about this over the last several months as the rumors and news swirled about those teammates of Lance Armstrong who testified about doping in the US Postal Team. In my mind, it was a no brainer. I was convinced doping was going on.
However, what was more important to me was when the doping stopped. Where are these riders now? How long have they been racing clean? What are they doing to proactively change the culture of the sport?
When I read George Hincapie’s statement today, I was not surprised at all. I could have written it. It was exactly what I anticipated. I’m not saying that to point to me being able to figure things out. I say that because it is the Big George that I have followed since the time I started cycling myself in… well, 2006.
Were these guys wrong? Yep. Should they face consequences? Yep. Should they be thrown under the bus. No.
I’m sure there will be calls for retribution. (Though, I purposefully avoided reading any articles or chatter before sitting to type this. This is just my opinion.) Perhaps there are those who do not feel the penitence matches the stated repentance. You can make your own decision.
For me, I prefer grace and mercy. I think these riders who came forward at this point after racing clean for these years are allowed this. Notice I didn’t say “deserve” it. It wouldn’t be grace or mercy if so.
I stand with you, George. I am standing with you, not to defend you, but to recognize your humanity. I am not excusing what you did. I am, as a fan, forgiving you for what you did. I am also, as a fan, thanking you for what you have done… and more importantly, what you have shown yourself to be.
Really, as we all look into our own lives, don’t we all want grace and mercy? I know I do.